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At first rehearsal, Creditors’ Adaptor/Director Doug Wright warmly welcomed the company of actors, designers and production team, telling an audience of Playhouse staff, teaching artists and volunteers about the excitement he felt when he first discovered Strindberg’s taut, psychological thriller. With its cunning mind games and verbal twists and turns, Doug is eager to dive into the emotional underbelly of the Swedish master’s witty, sexy love triangle: Two men, an artist and a mysterious stranger, meet at a seaside resort and become engaged in increasingly personal conversations about art, marriage and women — particularly the artist’s wife. The stranger, postulating that women are incapable of true love, puts it to the test — with the artist’s wife as the unwitting subject.
All aboard for Strindberg’s dangerous games are three exciting actors: Omar Metwally as Adolf, the artist, Kathryn Meisle as his wife Tekla, and T. Ryder Smith as Gustav, the mysterious stranger. At the first reading of the play, the chemistry — so essential for this tightly-wrought web of emotional and psychological tangles — is immediately apparent as they playfully toy with each other, enjoying the language that drips with innuendo and intrigue. As the actors experiment with the dialogue, the sexual undercurrent that runs through the play emerges at surprising moments. So much depends on the spatial relationships between the actors — the same dramatic moment can take on a lot of sensual heat when they’re close to each other, and yet be chillingly insinuating and cruel when they’re at opposite ends of the room. It’s exciting to watch flareups of all kinds as these game actors try things every which way.Creating the world the actors will inhabit is a topnotch design team — all veterans of the Playhouse. Robert Brill, who has designed sets for 11 productions from Fortinbras to The Wiz, introduced the company to an intimate space set in a 19th century spa where guests cure their ills and take a respite from their daily lives. Susan Hilferty (who has designed costumes for 14 productions from Gillette to How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying) is delighted to be back at the Playhouse, showing renderings that so aptly communicate each character’s posture, position and personality in the world of the play.
With Creditors, lighting designer Japhy Weidman (The Adding Machine), sound designer Jill BC DuBoff (Mother Courage) and composer David Van Tieghem (When Grace Comes In) are each returning for a second stint at the Playhouse. They will be joining the company later in rehearsals and, on the meantime, are in constant communication with Doug, sending light plots, as well as sound and music samples, for his perusal.
We’re off and running!